We saw numerous very long, very narrow boats as we ran. In single file fashion, they were tried up along the sides of the canal. The scent of wood burning permeated the air, and the softness of lush green grass could be felt through our shoes. We were floating through the domain of live aboard long boats. These were peoples homes. My 2 other colleagues chatted nearly the whole way, and normally I would have been engaged with them but I was lost in fantasy land, thinking about the life of being on these boats. I could see the smoke billowing out of the smoke stacks on the boats. I could imagine the people inside puttering about, doing normal morning things, but on a boat!
We ran under a number of bridges ... a few were so low that I (at 6ft) had to duck. It appeared that from the water line, the clearance couldn't have been more than 8 ft for a boat passing under. The boats on the canal didn't seem to have a beam of more than 5 ft which, given the width of the canal, much more would have really jammed up the water way. These 2 dimensions, even with a stepped mast, means that our boat, Ariel, wouldn't be able to make it through these water ways.
As we ran along the canal, there were some boat folks up and about doing their things. As we ran by, they smiled and nodded. Interesting, when we were running off the canal and passed people whom were dirt dwellers doing their morning things, they didn't nod and smile. While not a scientific polling mechanism, it sure seemed that those lived on their boats were much happier.
My only regret was not taking any photos. I didn't even carry my phone, which has a camera, for the run. The memories, however, of that magical experience, that running through the backyards of true boat dwellers, with lush green grass, calm water, and the scent of the fresh wood being burned, will live with me forever. I can't wait!!!! What's the count today? 265? :)